Before we share the best bike stories from last week, we’d like to share a word from our sponsor: Pedal PT is southeast Portland’s, full-service and bike-friendly physical therapy headquarters with a specialty in bike fit and treatment of cycling injuries. Roll into their indoor bike parking at SE 25th and Clinton (and thank them for supporting BikePortland!).
And now, here are the stories that caught our eyes last week…
Luminous path: “Pitched as an alternative to street lighting, Starpath absorbs and stores energy from UV rays during the day and then releases the energy at night, allowing particles to glow.”
LeMond vs. Armstrong: The only remaining American Tour de France champion lashes out at his supposed successor, calling Armstrong a “thug” who should have been able to place only “top 30 at best” and deserves to go to jail.
Bike-in cafe: Since time immemorial, the main problem with drinking coffee has been that it forces you to remove yourself from the seat of your bicycle. Finally, Zurich’s city council has solved this problem with a cafe that lets you wedge your front tire into a stationary stand and sip coffee while in the saddle.
Danish happiness: Scandinavian countries routinely top the list of the world’s happiest. But of them, Denmark seems to reliably be the best of the best. Why? HuffPo was more surprised than we were.
Distracted driving: The number of U.S. distracted driving fatalities is up 32 percent in two years as the rise of the smartphone takes a toll.
Seattle bike lanes: The polls aren’t looking good for Seattle’s bike-friendly Mayor Mike McGinn, but his pro-bike policies are paying off with projects like this sweet new two-way protected bike lane on Broadway.
Safe passing law: A Rutgers study of the nation’s 20 “three foot” passing laws finds that they’re rarely enforced by cops (links to PDF), but ignores their frequent use in civil suits. (Oregon’s uniquely non-specific version requires enough space “prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane.”)
Age-friendly cities: Andrew Price has a suggestion for the next time you go to a “family friendly” neighborhood: “Ask yourself, would your 13 year old kid or elderly granny on a walker have their freedom, and be happy there? We cannot ignore the problem, because we will all be elderly one day.”
Street standards: As Portland reconsiders its “level of service” policy, the speed-preserving metric used by city engineers to measure whether congestion will “degrade” a street, Streetsblog looks at the unappealing alternatives. For example, the “multimodal level of service” used in Florida analyzes developments that could increase transit ridership as bad because they lead to transit “crowding.” One consultant says the trick is for engineers to “stop fixating on this one metric.”
How safe is biking? Compared to other physical actiivity, most biking injuries are “niggling,” writes the NYT’s Well blog. But the truth is that nobody has good statistics on bike injuries per mile or hour.
Why we must complete streets: There are lots of streets that we might not want to ride our bikes on. But not everybody gets to enjoy that choice.
Unenforced safety law: In New York City, police enforce a “careless driving” law in less than 1 percent of cases involving people on bikes or foot.
Bike hits girl: In another unusual case, a British man was charged with “wanton and furious cycling” after gravely injuring a nine-year-old girl.
Highway stimulus: “Highway construction is easy snake oil” for depressed rural areas in Indiana, writes Aaron Renn.
Ashlander killed: Bill Harriff, 69, was killed in Australia Oct. 22 after a car turned in front of his bike, 15 miles from the end of a 1,000-kilometer ride through Australia to raise money for children’s cancer. “He had a low boredom threshold,” his wife said.
Chicago bike fee? A usually bike-friendly alderman from Chicago’s south side floated a proposal last week to scrap a proposed excise tax on cable TV and institute a $25-a-year bike fee instead. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he didn’t want police to spend their time enforcing such a rule.
The case for lawbreaking: One man says he breaks the law on his bike when he needs to to stay safe.
Tax per mile: With gas consumption falling and transportation funding with it, The Economist casts a cool British eye over Oregon’s experiments with a per-mile tax instead.
Bikeshare wealth: The Economist also looks at the value bike share systems have in local economies, driving up rents near stations and increasing patronage at nearby businesses. (It also mentions the tantalizingly cheap “dockless” systems that don’t require stations.)
Citi Bike pollution: The problem with Citi Bikes is that they’re hard to see, and also that they’re obnoxiously eye-catching.
Eagle rescue: Some rides through nature turn out to include more nature than others.
Bikes outsell cars: It’s happening in almost every European country for the first time since World War II, NPR reports … without mentioning that this has been the case in the United States for many years.
Paris highway removal: Portland’s downtown renaissance dates to our decision to turn Harbor Drive into Waterfront Park. What’s going to happen now that the most beautiful city in the world is following suit?
Finally, your video of the week comes courtesy of Wieden+Kennedy, Miami Beach and one particularly bike-loving NBA superstar: